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by Jay Traugott
Despite the small automaker's many setbacks, development of the reborn Esprit has continued and it's now ready for production - if they can afford to build it.
Lotus hasn't had things easy of late. Its now former CEO was sacked a few months back after being accused of negligence with company funds. And prior to that, parent company Proton was bought out by DRB-Hicom, which may or may not be interested in keeping (and funding) Lotus long term. Fortunately, development of the new Esprit has continued despite these setbacks and now a report coming from Autocar is claiming the new supercar is almost ready for production.
What we can confirm about Lotus' new flagship is that it will be powered by a 5.0-liter twin-turbo V8 mated to a seven-speed transmission with paddle shifters. It'll also feature an F1-style KERS hybrid system that will provide additional power during acceleration. The new V8 alone will produce around 650 horsepower and with the added KERS system engaged, an additional 100 hp will be available on tap for drivers. For comparison's sake, the Esprit's future competitors, the Ferrari 458 Italia and McLaren MP4-12, produce 562 and 592 horsepower respectively, and neither have that advanced hybrid system.
It will mainly be constructed from lightweight carbon fiber and aluminum in keeping with Lotus founder Colin Chapman's philosophy of “simplify then add lightness”. There's still no word when the new Esprit will officially go on sale, but Lotus sources have told Autocar it'll cost about the same as a high-end Porsche 911 - so around £100,000. The only issue left to tackle now is for DRB-Hicom to approve the funds to get the Esprit assembly line rolling.